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huge crush on good friend, advice?

Hi all - new to the forums, but I must say, there is an overwhelming amount of great advice and insight here! I'm hoping someone can advise me on a course of action to take with my own dilemma.

I have a (not-so?) unique situation. I have a huge crush, maybe more than a crush, on a very good friend of mine - Jessica. We always have a fantastic time together, I adore her personality and admire her as a person, and of course, I am unbelievably attracted to her for more reasons than I could possibly begin to name. I refer to it as a crush only because at this point, I feel as if it is an impossibility to pursue my feelings, though I am positive that if I allowed myself, I would fall head over heels in love with this girl.

We met a few years ago while she was dating another very close friend. Their relationship lasted 2 years, living together, before it ended pretty badly this past spring - Jess was being grossly mistreated and was in a pretty toxic environment. During their relationship, Jess and I saw our friendship grow from polite acquaintances to nearly best friends. Over this time, I found myself developing increasing romantic feelings toward Jessica...which I have kept entirely to myself due to her being in a relationship with my friend.

When their relationship ended, Jess and I became even closer. I ended up becoming pretty much her sole support through the rough spot, though I ensured that our relationship remained platonic. This was not only due to the fact that she'd been dating a good friend, but also because I felt that it was a delicate time and would have been unfair to declare my feelings for her when she was so confused.

So, I became her go-to girl when she needed to vent and provided much-needed nights out to take her mind off the bad and remind her of the good. I was in a difficult situation at the time, having remained close with both Jess and her ex. While this never caused a strain between myself and Jessica, it did cause slight problems in my friendship with her ex (which have since been more or less resolved). After the breakup, I've felt an undeniable chemistry between Jess and I, and she's hinted subtly (and not-so subtly) at her attraction towards me.

Jess decided at the beginning of summer to start dating again, which I encouraged her to do, assuming it would help her to move on from her ex. So she did, and she met a great girl, Megan, who she is currently seeing. They've been dating a few months now, and Megan really is a nice girl who I get along with just fine. Jess is content and so I am happy for her, though I've noticed a few instances where she's put herself and her own needs aside to please her new girlfriend, which irks me a little. Nevertheless, their relationship continues and Jess has really fallen for this girl.

I'm not sure what to do... I think about Jessica all the time and can't shake my feelings for her. I care about her so much and know that I could give her so much more of the love that she truly deserves. I feel as though I missed the very brief window I had to talk to Jess about my feelings. Not only is she now dating someone new, but pursuing anything more than a friendship with her is complicated because it would effectively end my friendship with her ex... which, to be honest, I would probably be willing to sacrifice in order to be with her - but I'd rather not throw away when I don't know that have a real chance.

All of this is further complicated by the fact that it's not a safe time for me to be "out" to anyone but a few close friends and even fewer family members. I'm a student and part of my tuition is paid by family who would withdraw their support indefinitely if they knew. Not an ideal situation, and certainly not fair, but it is what it is.

So, I would appreciate any advice or even a take on it all from someone outside of the situation. Up to this point, I've just been doing my best to hide my feelings and appreciate the time that we get to spend together as friends, but it's getting harder and harder to swallow my feelings and press on.

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Hello and welcome to the forums,

You do seem to be in a difficult spot, but I think it has a lot more to do with your need to stay closeted than with your feelings for Jessica. You haven't lost the only moment, you've never had a right moment. I think you probably hold yourself back from telling Jessica how you feel about her because you value her so highly and would not want her to suffer the emotional difficulties of being with a woman who is closeted - even due to necessity.

While this is reasonable and basically compassionate, I do think that you should probably discuss it with her so that she can have the opportunity to make her own decision on the subject rather than you continuing to make it for her.

If I were you (which I am not) I would accept that the closeness of your relationship demands honesty. I would tell her how I felt, as well as why I didn't think it was necessarily the best offer she could have (her already being in a relationship with a nice girl, you being unwilling / able to be out). I would let her know that should those things change, or should she not care about the negatives, that I would love to pursue a relationship with her at some point. And then I would listen to what she had to say.

I hope that helps!

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Hi Rural - thank you for the warm welcome and insightful reply. I appreciate your thoughts on the matter. I hadn't really considered the implications of my "need to stay closeted" so to speak.. though they present a very real and valid concern, relationship-wise.

I, like you, agree that the importance of our friendship demands honesty and full disclosure of my feelings, but I think that I should clarify that my reluctance to make my feelings known - at this point at least - is not being influenced by my decision to remain closeted (though I'm thinking now that maybe it should be?). The concern is that presenting my feelings will have ramifications on her relationship and on our friendship - more about the emotional difficulties she may encounter due to being put into an awkward situation. Being that our friendship is something I know we both cherish, the last thing I would want to do is introduce an unnecessary strain on it.

So I suppose then, that my next question would be how to best approach discussing the subject. I feel as though it should be handled fairly delicately, which is not always my strong suit.

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I think I should also add that the parameters surrounding my decision to remain closeted will have dissolved effective next year. This may be why I hadn't considered this as a potential roadblock (or at all).

The only reason I mention this is because I feel like some people reading may have considered my oversight insensitive - I realize that this can present serious problems for some relationships and I don't wish at all to downplay the reality or significance of those difficulties.

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Hi there, and thanks for sharing your situation.

We'd second the advice given by Rural Technophile, but with perhaps a slightly different spin. Your concerns echo many others we've heard from young women who are not yet "out" in some important way, be that to important family members, employment, at school, etc. They're not as out as they might like to be due to possibly legitimate fears they'd lose financial support for school, other financial support from family, employment, housing, etc, because someone with current control over their lives is also homophobic.

While admittedly "coming out" is pretty far back in our rearview mirrors, from our perspective it seems that many in this situation tend to focus more on what sorts of conversations they might have with a special someone they find attractive. What to say, when to say it, how she might react, etc. Imagine the anticipation of that sort of conversation could be pretty sexy and exciting. At least, more so than the conversation where you tell your parents. 

However, in most cases involving those who are already legal adults, your overall lifestyle situation would be better served by directing that energy toward getting yourself to a better place where you don't have to worry about losing housing, job, school, etc., if you come out to anyone at all. And until that's the case, you're probably putting yourself at some risk by coming out to anyone at all, because you're depending on them to keep your secret too. Even if your intended secret keepers aren't homophobic, they'll still need to keep mum. More reason to work on the overall lifestyle situation.

After you've become more independent of anyone that's both homophobic and has some current control over your life, you can tell whomever you like, at least without fear that it might result in loss of the things above as a direct result. You also wouldn't have to worry about how skilled that special someone is in the secret-keeping department, because hey! It's not a secret anymore. You defused it. That bomb is no longer ticking. That's a more powerful place to be in many ways.

We also know that some people feel their situations are more complicated; some people feel they're tied to things, places, interpersonal situations that dictate they must "stay in the closet" indefinitely. However, especially if you're young, healthy, and reasonably unencumbered, don't underestimate what's possible, and don't underestimate how much better it will feel to try to date whomever (however, whenever) without that ticking sound in the background.

Hope that helps. :)

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